Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland
SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has called for additional support for migrant workers impacted by COVID-19. In response to Mr Durkan’s request, the Department for Communities have advised that there are no plans for further emergency measures for those identified as having No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF.)
The Foyle MLA said:
“While I accept these are extremely challenging times, I cannot accept that emergency funding for migrant workers and those who cannot access public support funds, are not being actively considered.”
“Social protection schemes have been a lifeline for many in recent weeks, however cracks are beginning to appear and people are falling through supposed safety nets. Migrant workers in particular have found themselves locked out of financial support- the continued application of the Habitual Residence Test when considering Universal Credit claims, has proved a sticking point. “
“As such I appealed to the Communities Minister for decision makers to reconsider the current climate when applying these criteria; if not a temporary removal of the Habitual Residence Test for Universal Credit claimants. It is extremely disappointing that this suggestion has been deemed unfeasible by the Department.
“Furthermore the decision not to implement an emergency fund in such circumstances means migrant workers or people designated as NRPF are left virtually alone and unaided amidst this crisis. It would appear that the ‘all in this together’ sentiment does not apply to all. There is a duty of responsibility here also for Westminster to take action on this matter- no one should be left behind.”